where am I

I believe this is week 2 of living on the island now, and I have to say that it has been life changing. I mean, it's incredible to be surrounded by trees, mountains and water. It's like a nature overdose that I can't get enough of. I honestly gasp out loud when something catches my eye. We live in a beautiful world, and it's teaching me to stop and listen to what I need from it, in order to feel grounded. It's fair to feel slightly overwhelmed by all of it.

I'll admit that regardless of this amazement, I feel a little bit blue. My struggle clearly comes from the distance of what I just left behind. It wasn't an easy decision to pack up and move away from my friends and familiar places that made up the comforts of my life, after 4 long years. The fact that I was able to create that for myself, in a city I knew nothing about; it makes me hopeful for the relationships I'll build over here. Still, I feel selfish, because I left by choice. Why be so cruel to natural curiosity? It's a big world of possibilities, and no one who cares for me deeply would want to deny me of that. I need to be reminded at times that it's nothing to do with abandonment. If anything, it's bringing me closer to people. Some I never expected to reach out to.

I've felt alone. I've felt empty. I have felt tired and worn. Moving in general ain't easy. It's a lot to take in. I've come to accept that this is part of the process, part of the cleanse, part of the renewal. I know what pressing restart is like, and this is something I've felt before. I suppose because it is familiar, it can weigh heavily on my patience. Again? These are my choices, and it's something I have to walk and talk myself through. I have cried, I have smiled hard, I have danced, I've slept heavily. I have shared with the ones closest to me, when those struggles present themselves. They reach out and share the same love, regardless of distance. It brings me back. These, are friends who last a lifetime. I suppose that's the beauty in distance. It brings perspective. I still feel wealthy with love.

The challenge will be the seclusion of our current location, yet it is something I love and appreciate. Being in your own company is something I think the world could use some guidance with. We seek constant approval and interaction in our experiences, it's nice to just have some silence and see how the mind chooses to take it for what it is. I feel I need to figure out how to take more advantage of my time, by getting in touch with my art; the non-work related stuff. I notice that I'm still pretty heavy handed with myself, when it comes to expectations and keeping on top of my game. I had to be reminded to stop, listen, and realize this is new. Accept that it's not easy, though it may seem incredible on the surface. It really is mind blowing. Allow for the distractions and ease yourself into the process. Why can't I just jump in head first and have it all work out? Life is a thing. We have to learn as we go. Dammit.

Even moving down the street is exhausting. I have moved over 22 times in my life, and no matter how I've gone about it, or how prepared I am, it is always tiresome. It's physically and emotionally draining. I drove an entire day to get here, and that drive was something I'll never forget. I left a lot of myself behind, as I made my way here, and because of that, it's necessary to mourn the losses. It's just a part of life, to feel differently when the world around you is altered in some way. Right now, my entire world is different. Breathe, accept, nurture, grow. Change is good, but it isn't always easy. It does get easier, though. Let it happen.

I crave knowledge. I like to know things before I allow myself to learn, because I hate making mistakes through trial and error. There are a lot of lessons to be learned in this process already, and getting my business back in order is part of it. I have some daily exercises lined up, to stretch the professional muscles out and to show myself that getting here is part of the personal growth I've been seeking. Showing myself that I've made it here, on my own... seriously... crazy shit. I know I need to be proud, but also be fair. Be kind. This is a lot to take in. This is big.

I meditate, I rest, I do my best to relax. I'm still battling with the downtime because any time I pick up a pencil, I feel it should be used for business related things. This too is a process I'm working into my schedule. Personal work is necessary for artists, to disconnect and reconnect in a different way that isn't about the usual process. I'm actually loaded with inspiration and ideas. So many, that it's tough to focus. It's like the moment I put my pen to paper, a million other ideas want to come out at once. It's nice to feel so excited to share what I've seen, and what I've learned from being here. Nature has sucked me in and shown me so many magnificent things. It's neat when it cycles through to the surface and comes out in front of me. I feel I'm really coming back to myself, yet struggling so hard to grasp it and let it happen, without force. All part of the process of change. Be fair. It'll all come back.

Today is a day of whatever. I have my pens and papers all lined up to be used whenever and wherever I may take them. I'm shutting my mind off from the technological distractions, as I've noticed that I crave social interaction with my loved ones. I'm clinging because I'm scared, I'm expressing because I'm excited, I'm sharing because I'm emotional. I'm learning who I am. I'm feeling brand new. I have never felt so open, yet so contained. I'm sorting all of these new pieces that are also familiar. I've always loved the shapes of trees, the sounds of the breeze through leaves and bodies of water. It's like, I'm returning to an old friend. I'm reuniting with myself.

This post is flighty, I realize, but it's just how the thoughts are pouring out as they come. I have so much to get a hold of, and so much to release. It's an interesting transition, but I feel the seasons of change will help me catch up with what is to come. Lovely, that we approach the greatest season of change, the fall. I am very excited to see what that season looks like here; how it will present itself, what it will make me feel. Until then, I celebrate the summer; knowing that next year, it will remind me of this place, what I just learned, how I got here, and how far I've come. This is where I am.

You have to start somewhere.


venus yourself

I decided to do a bit of a personal experiment, and I have no idea where I'm going with it. It starts with a story I might not want my mother to read, but at the same time.. there's no shame in any of it. If anything, it taught me a wonderful lesson. Something I think more of us could learn to embrace. I'm just not sure how to share it yet.. nor do I know if I will, openly. It is still an experiment. I write about it because it taught me something.

I was going through old folders on my computer, cleaning things up, putting stuff on my hard drive; when I came across an innocent file named "taxes". When I opened it, I quickly closed it, nearly deleted it instantly, gasped out loud like someone might see what I had in front of me. What on earth? They were what someone might call 'intimate pictures' of myself; pieces of my skin, parts of my body, naked. Nothing racy, nothing raunchy, hardly anything to write home about. A simple preview of the shapes of my body, some soft light, an artistic 'sample' for someone special. Actually, they weren't half bad as I went through them one by one. Suddenly I asked myself, why was my first instinct to hide it?

One major rule that I had with sending these sorts of photos to people, was that I'd never send anything I didn't want others to see. I know dudes talk, people share, the internet is cray; so I didn't send anything that I'd be ashamed of showing, or something I'd later regret... so why was I on the verge of hitting delete as soon as found this folder? I was fixated on the opinions. Like it was somehow wrong, trashy, awful, tasteless... slutty. These are things we face as a society, and yet in the same go, we try to pump out the confidence awareness. Love the skin you're in?  Whatever you want to call it. We are so mixed with our opinions, sometimes it is difficult to know how to feel about yourself.

While it made me nervous to do so, I decided to share some examples with some of my friends. Most of which are other artists and photographers. I was seeking an opinion, not about my body, or the possible sexual content, but of the piece itself. I originally photographed them as a piece of art, in a way. It's how I roll with photos of myself. I explore certain angles with light and shadow, how it can create a certain mood, when I find the right glow against my skin. Sure enough, they liked my photos. We discussed them, we even picked our favorites. Suddenly, I became really okay with it. I shared more, and more. Soon, I'd shared almost the entire folder. Weird. So weird to do so without really thinking too far into it. It's just skin. It's just a body. Yet, it's my body.

What I loved most about the images is that when I looked at them, outside of myself, I saw something beautiful. I even compared some of them to a painting I'd seen, of Venus. The curve of her hips, the paleness of her skin, her simple beauty. It was a really weird thing to compare myself to, because I mean.. it's Venus. Suddenly, I accepted it, and became really proud of myself; of my body. To compare myself to a goddess, unheard of. What an incredible sensation. I wanted to share this with other women, because we should all feel this way. We should love the bodies we have; imperfections and all. We are all goddesses, we just tend to have really harsh opinions about ourselves.

I decided to create a private profile on Instagram. No one can see it, it's completely private. I did it to challenge the concept of documenting them for people to see. How it makes me feel, how vulnerable it is to opinions and possible backlash. Yet, it is all for me. This is an experiment. I have no idea if I'll ever even accept the friend requests I've gotten. It's scary, and yet... that word... liberating. Why don't we love our bodies more? Why do we feel we have to hide them, or in my case earlier, delete them for no one to see? Not that we have to share them with the world, but hey, if there's a message to share that could help how we feel about ourselves.. why not share it? All I want is to embrace who I am, to feel lovely, unique, natural, beautiful, like a goddess. I'm in control of my body, and my world. It's surprising how it isn't as easy as it sounds. I'm terrified. I'm nervous. I ask myself why as I go. It's neat to listen to the answers.

I expect to get questions, to get opinions. Not everyone is going to love this approach. Who knows how my mom might feel to know there are pictures of my body on the internet. I never show my face, I never show my ... ahem.. flowery bits. It's all just how I feel in a certain light. I mean, one day that light is going to hit my body differently, and I'm going to continue to change each day as life takes me. I figure we all need to embrace those moments, with ourselves, and appreciate what we've been given while we have it. I'm going to be an old leather bag one day and probably long for the body I have today. It's neat to look at it that way. It helps with embracing the moment. I'm all about right now, after all.

So, while I chose not to delete these intimate and artistic photos, I left feeling quite strong and proud of what I have. I am in control of who I share that with, and how I present it. It's pretty cool. I've never loved my body before until this moment. It's cool what you can learn just in one day.


wonderful world

I can't really put it into words, how I've been feeling these days. It's like one part of me is so incredibly grateful for this experience, and can't believe it's real; while the other half is still coping with letting go of so many great things back in the place I called home for 4 long years. It's a bit of a grieving process, while yet, I know what I brought with me. I have great friends who aren't going anywhere, no matter where either of us go. That's beautiful, touching, and I tell myself to take it all in and let it happen. It's been an emotional time.

I went to Victoria (Beacon Hill Park) for the first time, today. Beautiful. I don't know if it'll ever get old, seeing the ocean up close, with mountains all around. I gasped out loud at some points, and fixated on a lighthouse in the distance. The coast is a dreamy and wonderful place. I could listen to it and stare at it for days. Hypnotic, meditative.

I sat by the shore, with my greatest companion at my side. I told him how lucky I am to have him in my life, in this moment, where things are so peaceful and just right. It's going to be an interesting adventure, and I can't put it into words how glad I am that he's the one who I get to share it with. These types of days are necessary, to get to know where we are, and see where we might want to stop for a while. It's weird to not have a place to call home yet, while this is the home we chose. We have a place to rest and stretch out, but there's so much to discover out here... and in ourselves. It's like a personal retreat, an emotional rehab.

As we sat together, I drifted into a week ago, when we first arrived on the island. I don't think I'll ever forget how I felt, as I watched the ocean surround us, on the ferry toward our new home. With so much blue to behold, I said to myself, "imagine. Imagine if you had never quit your job." It made me feel so proud of myself, to see that taking risks, abandoning the what ifs that stand in our way, can make such a difference. Life is short. Why not challenge the possibilities by jumping in? It's scary, but I'm learning to trust myself as I go; to face the anxiety, the fear, and uncertainty. How else will I learn?

After a nice walk along the beach, where we sat, there was a symphony playing in the park. It seemed a little too unreal that the song of choice was "What a Wonderful World." As I looked around me, at the trees, the people, the leaves blowing in the breeze, I took a deep breath of ocean air; tears rolled down my cheeks. I'm touched.. I'm overwhelmed.. I'm in love. For once, I'm giving that love to myself. It was overdue. What a gift.

I don't really know what else to say, other than to challenge yourself, change your beliefs, dip your toes in that ocean; just to see what happens. It really is such a wonderful world. I am so happy to be here.

Thanks for being here with us.


one week adventures

It's tough to believe that we've been here for a week, already! It has been a really cool adventure, and it will continue, each day, as we get to know our surroundings. We jump on the ferry, tomorrow, to the island, where we'll be staying until the new year. Crazy!

I have no idea what to expect, what I'll think of it, if I'll like it... so many wonders. All I know, so far, is that being close to the ocean, and surrounded by nature... it is a healer. So many new things, but life must get back into its routine.

Back to work, tomorrow!


more right nows

I have to say, that right now is a really interesting time. I shake my head constantly in disbelief, gratitude, and surprise. We're here. We're in one piece. Where did the time go? Yet, I feel we waited for this, forever.

The drive was so incredible, I wish I could have taken pictures of every single thing I saw along the way. Breathtaking, magnificent, overwhelming, inspiring. I loved the whole trip. Breakfast did a great job, riding shotgun. I definitely felt some security in his presence, even if he slept through most of it.

We broke up the trip, by staying the night in Canmore. It was my last dose of AB (my favorite place) and I have to say, it was the best. I hadn't brought Breakfast to the mountains before, so it was a lovely intro for him, to walk through Banff and enjoy it before we carried on. Those mountains are a supportive healer. It felt good to show them how far I'd come, to pay my final respects. Thank you, Alberta.

Road trips are interesting when your mind travels with you. I visited some unexpected places, and talked my way through them; while weaving in and out of the most magnificent landscapes. I got to listen to what my mind was sorting through, and in the process, I left the unnecessary baggage where it belonged, and I took the rest with me as valuable life experience.

One of the things I questioned, along the way, was when someone -recently- told me that I'll "always be alone." I think it was meant to be some sort of an insult/threat, because it wasn't a kind conversation. It made me wonder. First off, friendship breakups (or any kind) are interesting, because they paint a certain picture of that person, and where they belong. Sometimes, their words are a reflection of how they feel. When you move into a better place with yourself, not everyone follows. It's okay, it's a part of life. Perhaps this threat of being alone wasn't meant for me...

Ironically, I was alone as I talked myself through this mind puzzle; yet I didn't feel alone at all. I had the mountains around me, my dog riding shotgun, and a trusty little car taking me to my next destination. I suppose I didn't understand the concept of being alone, because I see a certain value in the things around me. I feel grateful for being appreciative, appreciative for being grateful. Perhaps if you remove all living things: the trees, the earth, the sky, the ocean, the stars, nature, the wind that sweeps my hair, my soul; then maybe, just maybe, I'll feel it. That concept actually sounds pretty scary, and yet... I'm still not alone.

Just as the words entered my mind, I left them behind; because their meaning was not understood in the fashion they were dealt. I feel it was used as an attempt to put me in a place that was far below where I had been, yet, I feel they only placed me further above where I had just come from. What I learned from this conversation with myself, is that self love and appreciation is a hefty piece of armour. Thick. Deep. If you can be with yourself and feel completely surrounded and full of love, you have nothing to fear, and you will never be alone.

Thank you, for being there with me for the ride.